A picket protest was staged yesterday in front of the Central Negros Electric Cooperative by the Bagong Alyansang Makabayan-Negros against the petition of the firm for the Energy Regulatory Commission to allow it to collect under-recoveries totaling P414.6 million.
The group also called for the scrapping of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act that marked the 11th year since it was enacted into law yesterday.
Bayan-Negros secretary general Christian Tuayon said they support the intervention of Bayan Muna Rep. Neri Colmenares in the ERC hearing yesterday and protest CENECO’s petition for power rate hike due to systems loss and other losses it has incurred.
He said they oppose any rate increases and are calling on the Aquino government to junk the EPIRA law that they claim has caused sufferings to the people for 11 years. He added that they had been protesting against it since 2001 because they believe it will lead to the privatization of generation companies and distribution utilities. He also said that about 95 percent of services in the power industry, owned by the government, have been privatized.
Freedom From Debt Coalition president, Noli Espina, said the government envisioned EPIRA to solve the electricity problems by restructuring and privatizing the power sector, and believed that competition would happen, generating greater operational and economic efficiency, but after 11 years of its implementation, the Philippines now has the most expensive electricity rates in Asia.
Espino called on consumers to be vigilant, and also called on legislators to listen, junk the EPIRA and pass a more effective, people-oriented power reform bill.*CGS